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Sorry everyone, an independent sports review has confirmed there’s no ‘lesbian mafia’ operating in women’s football

Emma Powys Maurice December 19, 2019
Matildas

Matildas players celebrate Emily Gielnik scoring her team's first goal during a friendly match with Chile in Adelaide, Australia. (Mark Brake/Getty)

An independent review commissioned by Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed there’s no “lesbian mafia” operating in women’s soccer, despite a football manager’s claims to the contrary.

The notion was first suggested by former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic, who was sacked in January after a report revealed some players were suffering high levels of stress and feared speaking out within the team environment.

Stajcic angrily claimed he had no idea why he was sacked and it was reported that he was blaming a secret “lesbian mafia” that wanted him out of the job.

Stajcic has since denied ever using the term, but state broadcaster ABC said that he regularly used it to complain about a cohort in Australian football seeking to undermine him.

In response the FFA launched an independent investigation into the management of Australia’s national teams.

The three-person panel released a summary of the review on Wednesday, which said they had found no evidence of a plot against Stajcic – or of a lesbian football crime syndicate, for that matter.

Alen Stajcic, former Matildas coach (Tony Feder/Getty)

“The Panel was unable to uncover any evidence supporting the existence of any formal ‘lesbian mafia’ or that the decision to terminate the Matildas head coach contract was driven by personal bias against Mr Stajcic or in pursuit of other agendas,” the report states.

However, the report did find that players were not “consistently listened to by administrators and those governing the sport”, and the issue was “particularly acute” in the women’s game.

The panel offerered recommendations on how to improve the running of Australia’s mens’ and womens’ national football teams, declaring that there must be better “feedback mechanisms” to deal with player complaints.

This includes the implementation of a whistleblower policy, more education for players and staff on how to raise issues of a serious nature, and faster resolution of complaints when they arise.

 

 

More: Australia, Football Federation Australia, lesbian mafia, Matildas, women's football

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